I’ve been in business for 30 years and survived the great recession and other financial crises, but this pandemic threw me into a tailspin as I tried to decide if and how to continue. I had to prepare for how this would affect the employees and our clients. It all seemed overwhelming, especially when my adult children were so concerned about me leaving the house. I had so many decisions to make in so little time and there was no roadmap or guidance. Everyone needed answers quickly and this truly was a life or death situation. Literally!
To survive, we had to determine where we needed to be and what issues we had to overcome to get there. We had to keep our employees safe and healthy, and I needed to let them know what I was thinking so I talked with our team. I knew we needed to take care of the essentials, operations, finances, and production. Here are the steps we took:
- We sat down with the employees to discuss how to keep them all safe, healthy and working.
- Some people were able to work from home, so we created a plan that included communication, accountability and access to other team members.
- We created a plan to continue invoicing and paying the bills.
- We created a plan to communicate with our clients and our prospects.
It took two days to put the plan in place, then we all acted together to work out the kinks, solve any issues and move forward. It took another week to get everyone working remotely and productively.
We then discussed opportunities. There are always opportunities in a time of crisis if you are prepared. Today, we are reaching out to our clients asking what we can do to help them during this time. We are looking to add new services and our customers can guide us on what other services we could offer. We currently are a design, print and mail company but we are researching adding digital marketing and other services. We want to constantly be moving forward, especially during hard times.
It’s important to remember that the strongest will survive: Those businesses who keep going, who look for opportunities and fight to stay alive will. And those who wait to see what happens will probably not make it. As entrepreneurs we are fighters. We put our heart and soul into our work, and it shows. We believe in our businesses—they are our babies and we would do anything to keep them alive. Those of us that do survive will be stronger for it.
Learn from this and move forward. In the end (and I know this sounds callous), there will be fewer companies to compete with because many will not make it. I know this is true because I made it through the recession and many of my colleagues didn’t. So, keep fighting, believe that you make a difference, that your company matters, and you will survive. You and your company will be better for it. This is an education that you can’t get from a book. Stay strong!